How To Grow Garlic !

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On my trip to Kelowna / West Kelowna I had a lesson on growing garlic.  My brother-In-Law Robin has been growing garlic for years,and does a very good job .

His garden right now is brimming with garlic that is getting ready to be harvested. Harvesting is usually at the end of July.IMG_0068

First thing to do is to prep the soil for planting . Planting can be           in September, October or November – the main consideration is the plants need to grow roots before the freezing sets in.  So four to six weeks before ground freezes . There should definitely be no top growth .  Robin plants his around Thanksgiving that is Canadian Thanks giving which is the middle of October.   The American Thanksgiving is in November . So you have to check the differences .

Some say that garlic should be planted on the shortest day of the year and harvested on the longest , but for Canada that would not work our shortest day is in December.

                                     GROWING CONDITIONS !

Garlic likes a sunny patch in the garden .  Garlic also likes rich, well drained soil .  It does not do well in light or tight soil that lacks organic matter and tilth. Sulfur and Sulfides are said to increase potency and flavor.  Keep the soil evenly moist.

Do not plant garlic where other onion plants grew the year before, because onion pests can be passed on to the garlic .  You can plant in your potato bed from the last year the garlic will use the available nitrogen the potatoes did not use and there are on crossover pests.

                                        WHAT TO PLANT !

Garlic is divided into two subspecies “Ophioscorodon” (referred to as Ophio or topsetting or haradneck garlic’s ). ” Sativum ” ( referred to as softneck or articoke or Italian or Silverskin garlic’s .

You can go to your grocers and buy a bulb and plant those cloves and you may get good yield , but its chancy , put the odds in your favor by buying from a local farm or nursery .  Garlic cloves are the seed .  Plant little skinny cloves and you get skinny little bulbs . Plant big beautiful unbruised cloves and you get big beautiful bulbs.  Bruised cloves are susceptible to fungi and diseases .  DO NOT PEEL THE CLOVES !

                                    HOW MUCH TO PLANT !

One pound of garlic yields 3/4 of a pound of large plantable cloves . One to three pounds of planting stock will produce plenty for the average family gardening plot.  Garlic lovers will need three times that . Softnecks store longer then hardnecks .

Plant 4 inches apart in rows . Dept is 1 inch to 4 inches beneath the surface , depending on the severity of the winters . If your average planting clove is 2 & 1/2 inches plant one clove every 5 inches.

                                      MULCHING !

–  Their  favorite mulch is fresh grass clippings and well chopped   deciduous (fallen ) leaves.

– Four important tips for growing Garlic :

– Keep Garlic beds weed free .

– Watch for disease – Fauaruim -a fungus that causes black spotting on sin and rotting cloves and tiny soil worms . Insects include mits and cut worms .

– In the spring when plants are grown  green leaves water like a green garden .  Nitrogen is appreciated at this stage .

– Garlic requires moisture throughout its growing period . Do not allow the plants to dry out completely . Once the stock begins to droop and turn brown – STOP WATERING !

                                   HARVESTING !

– Dig do not pull , The skin develops during the curing process.

– Do not leave the harvested bulbs in the sunlight . Take them to a cool dry place with circulating air .

                                     CURING !

– To prevent mold – humidity should be below 70 %

– It may take a month for the moisture to evaporate , the flavor to strengthen and the outer skin to become papery .

– If you want to braid your garlic do it while the stocks are wet an flexible .

– Once it is totally cured you can hang them in your kitchen .

                                   GARLIC AS A COMPANION PLANT !

– Garlic  – Fruit trees and nut trees  it repels moles

– Garlic – roses ,lettuce and peas , helps to keep aphids away .

– Garlic -plant throughout your garden and it helps keep birds out.

– Garlic – plant around the edge of the garden it helps repel japanese beetles.

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Robin has planted Italian , Yugoslavian , Musick ,and Susan Delafield (very hot ) garlic .

                                   GARLIC AS A PESTICIDE !

– Wear goggles ,and rubber gloves , this may irritate your skin

– 1 bulb of garlic separated and peeled

– 1 small onion peeled and chopped

– 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper

– 1 quart of water

Put into blender and blend .  After blending mix in one tablespoon of liquid soap ( not detergent ) .  Store in a glass jar with a tight lid and in the fridge.

– DO NOT USE ON SEEDLINGS !

– Test on a few leaves and leave a couple days to check for adverse effects .  If the leaves look fine sprinkle it around – Do Not Forget !!!    Rubber gloves and goggles !!.